Drivers who don’t want to pay the tolls to cross the new Port Mann Bridge are being assured signs will be in place on opening day to direct them to the free alternate route.
Transportation ministry officials say the signage is still being designed, so they can’t yet show what they will look like.
But spokesman Max Logan said westbound Highway 1 drivers will see the first warning of the toll bridge ahead at 200 Street and another sign 700 metres east of the 176 Street interchange will tell them to take that exit for the South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) if they want to take the untolled crossing.
The north Surrey section of the SFPR will also open when the new Port Mann does, Logan said, quickly carrying alternate route drivers to the Pattullo Bridge.
Motorists who continue west on Highway 1 will see another sign at 160 Street warning that’s the last exit before the toll bridge.
The bridge is expected to open in early December although the exact date has not been confirmed.
Eastbound Highway 1 drivers seeking to avoid tolls will be directed to take the Brunette Avenue off-ramp to Columbia Street and then over the Pattullo to the SFPR.
As with the westbound signage, eastbound ones will indicate a toll bridge ahead and advise of the “alternate route.”
One will be placed 700 metres before Brunette and the earlier one will be near Willingdon. The United Boulevard exit will be marked as the last exit before the toll bridge.
Logan said smaller “route shield” wayfinding signs will help drivers navigate through Burnaby and New Westminster between Highway 1 and the Pattullo Bridge.
Another alternate route sign will be placed northbound on Highway 15 (176 Street) to alert drivers heading to Highway 1 from the U.S. border that the Port Mann is tolled.
“As they approach Highway 10, it will let drivers know they have the option of proceeding to Highway 1 or taking Highway 10,” Logan said.
Drivers taking 152 Street onto Highway 1 westbound will also be alerted that they’ll be taking a toll bridge.
Logan said the signs are mainly to ensure visitors aren’t confused, adding locals should have no trouble deciding on their best route.
Critics predict the lack of any other way onto the SFPR in Surrey west of 176 Street means many Surrey drivers heading over the Fraser River will clog local streets as they head to the Pattullo, instead of taking the new perimeter road.